arrows

This morning I commented on a fellow bloggers post, sharing something someone had sent me.
I then decided that maybe there are others in this wonderful world of WordPress who may feel encouraged by it. So here it is :

”An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backwards.
When life is dragging you back with seemingly endless difficulties, try to imagine that it’s going to launch you into something great.”

It’s the imaginings, the possibilities, the hopes….
They bring gratitude, and appreciation. And help me through another day 😉

Short and sweet today. Like me 😛 (Sometimes sweet… 😛 But I am definitely the one who can do almost anything, except reach the top shelf 😛 😉 )

Meg’s mind… be afraid… ha ha!

In my late twenties, and then again in my early thirties, there was an extended period of self loathing – mostly directed at my physical appearance, but not so strangely sparked by emotional negative belief systems. It was bad! In fact, in my late twenties, I actually removed every mirror from my house. Make up was quickly applied in the car, in the rearview mirror – before going in to the office – because it minimised having to look at myself. And yet I did the make up anyway… because I still cared how I looked. What a conundrum, right? Not seeing anything good, and yet still making the effort!

And in those awful periods of hatred, the people who knew me and actually loved me, were consistent in telling me that it needed to end. That I was not what I had been told I was. That I was different, and worthy, and beautiful. That in this self loathing period, they still loved me, but they missed me. That I was the sunshine in their lives, bringing a positive attitude to all circumstances… and they needed me back.
And in all of that, something in me was still the ‘never say die, prisoner of hope’, because although I was emotionally self destructive, I didn’t give up.

Nowadays? Those same people are still in my life. We don’t see each other very often, and the pandemic has almost wiped out our social time. But the odd phone call is usually accompanied by the statement, ”I just needed a dose of Meg (Meg is my name, in case you didn’t know). I needed to at least hear some sunshine.”

Sounds great, right? But here’s the thing, everyone who is reading this : I am NOT sunshine all the time.

I woke up with this blog post on my heart, but checked my email first. Regular readers will know that I often share posts from Letters To Pogue… and there was a new post in my inbox. So I went off to read it first, and I guess that in a way it confirmed the words in my heart.

Now let me explain why I made the statement I did, and repeat for those who may have missed it :

I AM NOT SUNSHINE ALL THE TIME.

Yes, if you knew all the things that have happened to me in my life, you would see a woman who definitely holds onto hope like it’s as important as the air she breathes, and you would probably see that my nature – despite everything that has tried to twist it to the contrary – is upbeat and happy.

And I generally am. Funnily enough, the pandemic has made me EVEN MORE SO! absolutely crazy, right?!?!?!

BUT if you could spend a day in my mind – if I dared to write an hour by hour account of the thoughts in my head? You’d be more confused than a chameleon on a smartie box (roll of Rockets, for my US friends)!

I love to make friends online. I love that the world has evolved to a point that it has been ‘made smaller’. I love that I have a heart that can connect with people ‘across the miles’, even if I never get to see them in person.
What I don’t love though is that this has also evolved us to a point where we struggle with trust even more, because people have taken advantage of being able to hide behind the internet and many have proven themselves to be dishonest to a frightening degree. It makes me sad.

In my posts, I am genuine. I promise. The words I write are where I am at on that given day. Honesty is important to me. I try to be as real as possible, without dragging you all down any negative emotional roads 😛

But this morning, as I reflected on words spoken by someone I love dearly : ”I was just saying that you always find the positive and are just so darn sunshiny, that it is sometimes nauseating, but I love that about you anyway” – this blog post was born. The person who said them? She knows me better than I sometimes know myself. She’s seen the good, the bad and the ugly – and yet she still said that about me? The funny thing is that I got all defensive! I had replied to that statement with : ”No, I don’t! You’ve heard me complain, and be miserable, and be angry!”

Further explanation and discussion revealed to me that ‘she knows those ugly sides of me, but in general my sunny disposition seems to win, and she loves that about me’.

Why on earth am I telling you all this?

Because this is me at my most real – some raw truth about Meg, which may disappoint some, I might add…. and oddly enough, I am telling you as a form of ENCOURAGEMENT! Wait, what?!?!?!

For every person who is still reading, who regularly reads, who is waiting for the explanation :

Yes, I have always been ‘full to overflowing’ when it comes to hope, and not given up when I should have.
Yes, I smile FAR TOO MUCH, that even the staff at the local store and gas station call me ‘Miss Smiley’.
Yes, my general disposition resembles sunshine.

And maybe those things make it ‘easier’ for me?

BUT GUYS!

When I woke up this morning to the USA news (8 hour time difference means that chaos usually erupts while I am asleep!), my heart sank and I swore and I was instantly discouraged when I thought of how this will impact everything, all over the world. (I felt the same way with the UK Brexit news – except with only a two hour time difference I was awake for that!)
For a good half an hour, it felt like all hope was lost. My mind was a browser, ten tabs open, and it crashed.
I will never fulfill any of my dreams! My bucket list may as well get torn up and trashed! It’s all going to be downhill from here. I was afraid : what will the impact be? Every day just keeps getting worse – my own personal circumstances, the circumstances of those I love, the circumstances of people I have no knowledge of, my town, my country, this world as a whole.
And I cried. And I felt miserable. And angry. And I FELT hopeless. Exhausted. Ready to just go back to sleep.

And then I heard that quiet voice – barely a whisper as the waves of negativity tried to drown it – PLEASE STOP!

I still felt all those horrible things. I was still miserable about all of it. But I got up, and made my first cup of coffee. And as I took my first sip, I asked myself a question that I have trained my brain to ask when these moments come : ”Can you control it?”
And because this post is about being transparent, here’s what happened in my brain :

No. And I am f***ing sick of that question. Over it. Who the hell came up with that smart ass concept to start with, anyway? Like it’s supposed to just magically make everything better? I don’t want to play that game! There’s enough depression and anger in this f***ing world already! And now this! I can’t control it, but it doesn’t make me feel any better. I can’t change it either, and that makes me feel worse.
What CAN you change?
You know what? Just shut up! Take your positivity for a long walk off a short pier. I’m done!
No, you’re not.
No, seriously. I am. Everything just f***ing sucks.
Everything?
Yes, everything! I hate this! There’s no jobs here, we’re scraping by with no hope of anything getting any better, my friends are depressed, every time I leave my house I don’t know if I will come home unscathed because crime is so bad, I don’t want to die here, I want a future, I want my dad.
I thought you were upset about the US thing?
I am. But there’s a bunch of other stuff and it makes me just think of everything that is hopeless. There’s just no point anymore.
Hey, take a deep breath.
No.
Yes. And go get more coffee.
Fine. I need coffee.
You do.
What’s going to happen next? I am so tired of it all.
Well, what do you need to do today?
I don’t know… but I definitely need to vacuum my bedroom. I should probably think about what to feed the kids today as well, and I need to check email.
Okay, then that is what is going to happen next.
What?
Sometimes things just suck. You know this. It’s hard to understand when stuff defies logic. You don’t even know the question, but you’re looking for the answer. There might not even be a question. Who knows? You’re upset, concerned, afraid. You’re allowed to be. But it’s shifting you to think of everything else that is wrong. And yes, there is a lot. If you keep thinking of everything that is wrong, you will forget to remember everything that is right. Go write down three things that are right and think of them! It won’t magically make you feel better. You might still feel sad and angry and discouraged. But you still have sh*t to do. So do it.
Okay. *deep sigh*

And here I am. Doing it. The conversations in my head can get quite entertaining – but they DO make my heart hurt sometimes. I let myself feel it all, and process it. And in that process, I seem to calm down. Strange, right?
SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER : your thought processes pretty much determine your life. Yes, circumstances play a big role and can often ‘dash our hopes and dreams’… but that’s why it is so vital for us to practice daily the ‘carry on’ concept. Eating right is important, but so is ‘thinking right’. I haven’t quite mastered it yet… but I am sure as heck going to keep trying!

How do I feel now, you may be silently asking?
I’m still sad, and a little bit worried about it all. I’m angry that this world is such a horrible place. I’m afraid.
But I have drummed into my brain, through daily dedication to doing so : I NEED to accept the things I cannot change and change the things I can. I NEED to not dwell on the negative. Even with my doubt and discouragement screaming the opposite, I NEED to carry on, regardless.
I need to remember that my life, my ‘small and insignificant existence’, STILL HAS PURPOSE!
Even if, in an overwhelmingly negative moment, the only purpose seems to be a clean bedroom carpet 😛

Dear ones, you may be afraid and discouraged. You may be feeling lost and alone. Sad. Angry.
I don’t know your circumstances, or what it is you have to choose from.

But please know this : if you are reading this, you are here for a reason. You have value and meaning. There will be plenty you cannot change. But please change the thought pattern that says that all is lost. I’m living proof that it’s not true.
If you need help, reach out!
KNOW that despite everything, you are loved!

YOUR LIFE HAS PURPOSE!


(And now you know why my brother has always said : Nobody’s perfect, but some of us are closer than others, and you, little sister, are not one of them 😛 )

useless failure

I was reminded again, in the last couple of days, what a ‘useless failure’ I am. For far too many years, hearing this being spewed at me regularly, I not only believed it to be true, but I also found it extremely devastating every time it was said.

I know better now.

We all know about ‘unrealistic expectations’ that we not only set for ourselves, but sometimes hold others to. And we know how negative an impact they can have. Sometimes they are disguised as ‘my dream/wish/hope for you’… because sometimes those are just ‘pretty’ substitutes for ‘this is what I actually expect’.

Please don’t get me wrong : it is wonderful to have hopes and dreams for our children, our siblings, our friends. It can be quite empowering to share these with them – it can encourage and inspire things within them that they may have never even considered.

The danger comes in when we share that dream/hope/wish… and then turn it into an expectation in our minds.

I was supposed to get an Honours Degree.
I was supposed to marry a ‘professional’ (doctor, lawyer, accountant).
I was supposed to have two ‘perfect’ children.
I was supposed to be ‘successful’ by now. (Ah yes, but we may not measure success the same, right? 😉 )

All of the above started out as ‘hopes and wishes’ for me – for my future. But somewhere in the passing years, there has been a noticeable shift to : this was what was expected of you and you have failed dismally.

BUT I HAVEN’T! 🙂


For far too many years I have allowed my worth to be based on my inability to achieve the things that I was always told were what would make me successful.
It had me carrying around a burden of unworthiness that was not mine to carry.
It had other implications too.

Thank goodness for personal growth, and the willingness to learn and grow 😉

I may not have married well, I may not have obtained the ever important degree, and I definitely don’t have perfect children 😛

But it doesn’t make me less. And it doesn’t make YOU less if you’re in the same position. So here is my message to you all :

It doesn’t matter if you have not achieved all that others wanted for you. YOU STILL HAVE WORTH!
It also doesn’t matter if you have not achieved all that YOU wanted for you. YOU STILL HAVE WORTH!
There is still time. Circumstances may mean you need to ‘alter’ your dream… but you CAN still have a dream 😉
Every day is a new day, to keep growing, and keep going…

Because you ARE worth it! ❤

Be extraordinary!

plow

(And no, it isn’t spelled wrong 😉 In the UK it’s ‘plough’, in the US it’s ‘plow’. I’ll go with the US spelling today 😉 )

Before a farmer plants his crop, he plows the field to prepare the soil. This turns over the top layer of soil and brings fresh nutrients to the surface. Sometimes he adds fertiliser and plant food, to ensure growth and healthiness for his crop.
Then he plants the seeds, waits for growth and reaps his harvest.

I know that you know. But I’m just going to remind you anyway 😉

We all have plans, dreams and hopes. But we’re never going to see them to fruition if we don’t prepare and then take action. Thinking about them is good. Thinking about the ways we can prepare is good. Researching those ways is good.

But nothing is going to happen until we actually apply them, and get plowing! 

It’s not always easy, I know. But there are no rainbows without the rain. You have to start somewhere and at least try!

And remember :

failure

 

In the words of Jimmy Johnson :

”The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra!”

today is not your day

attention-i-can-please-only-one-person-a-day-today-14702205Photo credit : me.me

The wording in the above picture is for entertainment purposes only. Well….not completely.

I’d like to draw your attention to : Today is not your day. Tomorrow doesn’t look good either.

Those are the words that I am meaning to say to you right now.

Today is NOT your day and tomorrow isn’t either……

It is NOT your day to give up.

It is NOT your day to stop dreaming.

It is NOT your day to dwell on your past and the mistakes you may have made.

It is NOT your day to stop growing and challenging yourself.

It is NOT your day to rob the world of the beauty within you, and all you have to give.

It is NOT your day to stop trying, or believing.

It is NOT your day to give in to fear.

And tomorrow isn’t looking good for you either 😉

WUAuPCSLgrPhoto credit : faxo.com

 

Getting busy living

I woke to screaming, and sat up in a daze. Then there’s a blank.
It was difficult to open my eyes – the vision in my right seemed blurred. The sky was above me, grey, and I am sure there was a light drizzle (but that may be because before all this happened it had been raining). My friend was next to me, saying “Hold on, Meg. The ambulance is coming. Please be okay.”
I remember that my chest hurt – it was really sore to breathe. I tried to take in my surroundings, but it was just too much effort.
I remember gasping out, in stammered breaths, “It hurts to breathe. I think I’m going to go to sleep.”
The next 24 hours were a haze – very brief moments of memory that can be recalled when I talk about it. The rest? Things that those who were there have told me.
I was wearing all my favourite clothing items that day – they cut them all of me.

I had been asleep, on the journey home after a weekend away with my friends, in the back of a truck (under the canopy). It was four days after my 18th birthday. The truck lost control on the icy road – I was later told that it was due to driver negligence – and hit rolled a few times, landing on the edge of a cliff. For whatever reason, even after the canopy had been flung off, I had remained in the truck bed and was only thrown out just before it came to a stop. (Thinking back now, if I had been thrown out earlier, maybe I would have been crushed and dead, instead of very much alive, as I am today?)
My body was broken, my face cut up, and I was bruised all over – and yet the mirror in my bag was in tact. It hadn’t even cracked!?!?

I was in hospital for 15 days, and brought home in an ambulance because I still couldn’t walk. I’ve healed well, other than the scar tissue and pain that comes with cold and rainy days – and yet I LOVE those type of days 😉
I had a long list of injuries, but the ones that matter for the purposes of what I am actually wanting to share on my blog today, were the injuries to my ‘arms’. I broke my right collarbone in two places, and my left wrist. This means that on top of everything else, I couldn’t use my arms.
Still bedridden and healing up, I became incredibly bored. My pile of unread books  were calling me, but I wasn’t able to hold them or turn pages. So my brother provided me with a bunch of movies, the next best thing. Much to my mothers horror, in this collection was the movie Shawshank Redemption. And I watched it at least twenty times.

It’s a difficult movie to watch – so much sadness and a bit of violence, and scenes that leave you feeling a little ill to your stomach. But buried in that movie are so many little inspirational things that it makes it very much worth watching, if you can tolerate and get through the rest.

Let me set the scene for those of you who haven’t watched the movie – and refresh the memory of those of you who have.

Andy (played by Tim Robbins) has been convicted of killing his wife and her lover. Surprisingly, he’s probably the only man who winds up in that prison who is actually innocent. It’s not easy, and he definitely suffers. One day, out in the yard, he’s having a conversation with a new ‘friend’ he has made, named Red – played by Morgan Freeman. They start talking about what they would do if they got out, and for a man who has been institutionalized for a very long time, it is no surprise that Red fears that he may not survive on the outside.

It’s Andy’s part of the conversation that made an impact on me though.
He describes how he may as well have pulled the trigger – that he had loved his wife so much and yet pushed her away, and that had ultimately caused her to be in a place that had caused her death. He talks about being caught in the path of a tornado, and how he didn’t expect the storm be lasting as long as it is.
And then he begins to talk about his dream : one day, when he gets out, he’s going to go down to Mexico and open a small hotel on the beach – the Mexicans say the Pacific has no memory. And that’s how he wants to live out the rest of his days – in a warm place with no memory.

Bearing in mind that Red is pretty much his only friend in those dark, dismal walls; you’d expect his response to be supportive. But sometimes our reality is just so dark that we can’t see any light – and when we do see a light in a tunnel it’s usually another train coming.

So Red tells him he has a silly pipe dream, and that Mexico is out there, and Andy is in here, and he should forget about it.

Andy’s response is :
”Yeah, right. That’s the way it is. It’s down there and I’m in here. I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.”

And that’s the truth. We can either truly live life, or just wait to die.

Sometimes life is hard, and it can feel like we’re imprisoned by its harshness, circumstances and negativity. My country, my town, my immediate surroundings are in crisis at the moment. It scares and saddens me, because I have a passion for people and I see past how things are directly impacting ‘me and my kids’. I carry a weight for those around us too. It’s not a burden that debilitates, but it definitely causes crying in my heart and soul, and pushes a button inside me to ‘act’. I don’t quite know how to explain it, so I may take some heat for the way I’ve said it.

I often joke that I am a ‘Prisoner of Hope’. I still have dreams despite the reality. And something inside of me constantly lives in hope. I don’t know what the future holds, and I have no desire TO know.

I DO know that every morning that my children and I can wake up and face a new day, things are good. Every moment that we get to spend, breathing and living and laughing, things are great. And every opportunity that we are given to help others in whatever way possible to us at the time means that things are fantastic.

For me? That is getting busy living. It’s living my best life.
Pursuing my dreams, living in hope despite our realities, and making a positive difference and contribution in and to other people’s lives.   
And enjoying the simple things – laughter, a good book, cheesecake, coffee and rainy afternoons 😉

How do you ‘get busy living’?

Small Steps

what about Bob

 

I watched the movie above (What About Bob?) when I was about twelve-years-old.

The brain of a 12 year-old is in the middle stage of a certain development and “As they move towards the next stage, Identity vs Role Confusion (around age 12), they begin to form values and challenge the self-confidence they have built over the preceding years. During this new phase, they seek to find the identity they will take with them into adulthood, along with the peers they feel reflect their values and sense of self.”

It is therefore not too surprising that I remember quite a few of the scenes from this movie. But there is one thing in particular that I remember….and as per the quotation above, it is also not surprising that it is something that I have carried with me my whole life…..and can still be heard saying repeatedly, “Baby Steps”.

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Dream Destruction

He’s a dancer. He is the only male, in an ocean of females, with a particular dance company. His life has been tough and finances are limited. He has incredible talent, and dancing is his passion and dream. When he gets on stage, the raw emotions of his life are incorporated into every moment, and leave me teary-eyed and amazed at the beauty that flows through his body.

We’ll call him Dino.

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Don’t….just don’t.

Bubbles have been floating around in my head for the past few months.
They started popping about a month ago. But instead of ‘just air’ dissipating into nothingness, they have popped out a vast amount of ideas. Each one of these individual ideas has attached itself to another, as they slowly began to melt into each other and they have come together to build one solid thing : a dream – a wish my heart has made for many years, but has been hesitant to pursue.

The dreams of our futures are the things that we so greatly desire to achieve, and so we pursue them; indulge in them; allow ourselves to become absorbed in the fantasies of ‘what if I achieve it’.
The sad reality is that so many of us don’t fulfill those dreams. We don’t go for them unashamedly. We hold back – and while we secretly dare to dream, we don’t believe enough that the dream may someday come true.

I am from a long line of professionals – dating back to my grandfathers. In ‘my world’, you diligently completed school and then went on and studied for a degree. Once you had achieved said degree, you then pursued a professional career in that field – and only then were you considered to be successful. There is no place in ‘this world’ for the arts, unless you are using the copious amounts of money you have earned professionally to hire an interior decorator for your upmarket accommodation.
There are looks of shock and disappointment when you indicate that your dream is actually to ‘sing on stage’, ‘act in a Broadway show’, ‘pursue a career in dance’,’write a book’. You are considered to be someone who is throwing their life away, because your life is not about talent – unless you’re superior enough to be placed on a pedestal with the greats – your life only has merit if you push your brain to its limits and pursue a professional career, so that you can be introduced as, ‘My sister/cousin/aunt, the Lawyer/Accountant/Doctor’.
Of course, allowances are made, only IF you have followed the first few steps – so if you’ve studied and qualified as an Accountant, then approval may be given for you to stand up on stage at the local theater and sing, and be considered quite talented.

I have failed miserably, on all accounts. I got the school part right, but that’s where my success ended. In the eyes of my family (my father excluded), I have been nothing but a disappointment and a failure, because I have not measured up to their standards. I do understand that I have seemingly wasted the brain I have been given. But my circumstances were different to all of theirs, and because of that they will never actually (despite their degrees and successes) be able to comprehend the place I find myself to be in. Failing on this particular account (their account), doesn’t worry me too much.

What upsets me is that I have failed on the account that is the most important to me. I am well aware that I have a scholarly brain, and that studying and qualifying is something I could do quite well. A part of me wishes that I had the opportunity now to do it.
But that’s only a part of me. And it’s a very small part when I can look at myself as a whole.

As a whole, the one thing that is the most important to me is to achieve success in an area that I am passionate about. It won’t make me rich, and it certainly won’t require a designer, because I won’t ever have an upmarket anything. But it will satisfy my soul, and it will be the evidence of my daring to dream, and will hopefully become a way to give back to others by using the talents that I have.

The dream has been there for many years, but it’s been a bubbling concoction of witches brew that didn’t quite ever change color. Now it has color; each of the ideas has formulated into a plan. Yet I am still hesitant. I have held back for so long, content in only dreaming because reality is harsh : after all, my family has no confidence in my abilities, I have no formal further education, only the worst of me is pointed out, and has for many years overpowered the best of me. But for the past month, I have seen my dream as more than that – I have seen it as my reality. I have been slowly but surely working towards it, excited enough to set myself a ‘date of completion’ just this morning, a date where I will be able to reveal it, even if I am the only who is proud of the achievement. And yet I was still intent on keeping all this to myself.

But this morning. Ah yes, this morning. My cup of coffee in hand, and mindless scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, I got a kick in my derriere.
(Hence my setting a date for completion!)
The video that I happened upon can be found here but please take a moment to read what my comments were as I shared it on my page. I said,

“Don’t lose confidence in your abilities. Don’t wait to pursue the dreams you have if you have been blessed with a talent that will allow you to open up the world that dream exists in. There will be people who will see the worst in you, and choose to ignore the small talent you possess. Don’t give up, and don’t let them discourage you. Don’t ‘let a stutter make you wait till you’re in your seventies’ when you could be doing it now!

And that’s all I have to say about that!